By admin       2019-03-29

March 28, 2019 - LAHORE: The government’s dream of 15 million bales cotton production would only be fulfilled if it takes steps to make its cultivation profitable for growers, Pakistan Kissan Ittehad (PKI) said on Wednesday. Higher input cost of cotton production in the country compared with other countries of the world, lenient import policy without duty and from the land routes putting pressure on the local cotton prices, PKI President Khalid Mehmood Khokhar said. Even International Cotton Advisory Committee (ICAC) declared that the cost of production in Pakistan is higher than India, Turkey, Tanzania, Argentina, Australia Brazil, etc. Imports from such countries without duty hurts the local prices and reduce growers’ profitability, which ultimately influence the growers’ choice for planting other crops instead of cotton, he added. Secondly, since the textile industry is the only buyer of cotton in Pakistan, it monopolises the market and suppresses the prices far below the international prices. In these circumstances, Khokhar said, it is imperative to pay cotton support price to secure growers’ profitability, which is widely practiced in the neighbouring country for over 27 crops, including cotton, very effectively. Pro-industry policies of the previous government about cotton import, illegal import from the land route and non-provision of support price, resulted in over 30 percent reduction in cotton area, he said, adding that the textile industry is also not showing any patronage to this crop and has been avoiding to pay research cess for the last four to five years, as they were enjoying cheep imported cotton and benefiting growers abroad. It is right time to take appropriate decision and protect local agriculture, in general, and cotton, in particular, by taking decisions according to the rule of law and in favour of cotton growers, the PKI president said. All major cotton growing countries, including US, India, Brazil, Turkey Argentina are paying support price or supporting growers by insurance and protect their profitability. Resultantly, their exports are flourishing and textiles are growing. Growers were already facing severe financial losses due to the lack of surplus production policy for potatoes and are in stress. Pakistan Kissan Ittehad strongly urge the government to give cotton growers’ confidence, announce support price for seed-cotton (Rs4,000 / 40kg) in order to achieve 15 million bales target well ahead of cotton sowing season.

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